Hobson's Choice: Tesla Slashing Interior Options for Big-bucks Models

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Back in September, the House of Elon decreed the Model 3 would be available in fewer colors, an apparent effort to streamline production of the company’s first high-production model. By restricting two of the seven hues – Obsidian Black and Metallic Silver – to special request status, it is arguable easier to move more machines out the factory (tent) door.

Now, option limitations are being applied to the megabuck Model S and X as well. Musk announced yesterday – via tweet, of course – that “many” interior configurations will not be available after the end of this month.

Your author will opine here that this is a kick in the nadgers to anyone paying near to or in excess of $100,000 for a new vehicle. Such a sum at just about any other automaker will assure shoppers a wide variety of options. In Ingolstadt, the Audi Exclusive program allows access to a wide portfolio of paints, leather colors, and wood inlays.

But back to Tesla. It wasn’t wholly surprising when the company chopped the number of readily available exterior shades on the Model 3; after all, when one is trying to make as many of the things as possible, a smaller number of colors being loaded into the paint gun will surely speed things up. The move is a bit surprising on the X and S, given their lower production numbers and higher price tag.

To simplify production, many Tesla Model S & X interior configs, will no longer be available after Nov 1. Order now to be sure of the one you want.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2018

Right now, the Model S and X P100D interiors can be configured as black with brown ash wood trim or white with dark ash wood trim. Both colors can, for $250, have carbon fiber trim substituted for the wooden inlays. That’s a quartet of options, then.

On the 100D and 75D, customers are with black textile seats and dark ash trim as standard equipment. For extra cheddar (to the tune of $3,300), one may select from the “Premium” menu:

  • white with dark ash trim
  • black with brown ash trim
  • ibid but with a tan headliner
  • cream with light trim

Layer on the choice of carbon fiber, and that’s no fewer than eight different interior configurations, nine if you count the textile option. That is a lot.

It would not be surprising to find at least the cream color to have vanished after the end of this month, along with perhaps the black/tan headliner combo. However, given Musk’s use of the word “many” to describe the number of options on the chopping block, it is entirely possible that selection will be limited to either black or white seats with either dark ash or carbon fiber trim. That’s our fearless prediction.

Henry Ford’s 1909 missive of “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” still applies in 2018.

[Images: Tesla]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Buickman Buickman on Oct 24, 2018

    unsafe at any color.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Oct 24, 2018

    "Henry Ford’s 1909 missive of 'any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black' still applies in 2018." Ford said that in 1909, but it wasn't implemented until 1914, when all Ts were first painted black, into 1926, when other color options reappeared. Before 1914, black wasn't even an option - Ts were first offered in gray, green, blue, or red, depending on body style, and all cars in 1912 and 1913 were midnight blue, with black fenders.

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
  • Tassos I heard the same clueless, bigoted BULLSHEET about the Chinese brands, 40 years ago about the Japanese Brands, and more recently about the Koreans.If the Japanese and the Koreans have succeeded in the US market, at the expense of losers such as Fiat, Alfa, Peugeot, and the Domestics,there is ZERO DOUBT in my mind, that if the Chinese want to succeed here, THEY WILL. No matter what one or two bigots do about it.PS try to distinguish between the hard working CHINESE PEOPLE and their GOVERNMENT once in your miserable lives.
  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.